How to Find a New Job After a Layoff

Published: Nov 29, 2022

 Interviewing       Job Search       Resumes & Cover Letters       Workplace Issues       
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People lose their jobs for various reasons, and anyone could be laid off at any point in their careers—whether or not they’re a good employee. No matter the reason for the termination, here’s how to find a new job after your employment ends.

1. Ask Why

You should try to understand why you were let go if you don’t already know. Your employer may not have an obligation to tell you why they're letting you go, but many employers will take the time to discuss it with you. Your employer should be able to provide you with a detailed reason why you've been fired. Of course, this can be a difficult conversation, so you should collect your thoughts and emotions beforehand. 

Understanding why you're fired could help you improve your chances of getting hired in the future by learning about areas of improvement. For example, you could’ve been fired based on your professionalism or due to poor work performance. But, of course, you could also have been let go because the company could no longer afford your role, so getting the details could be significant in understanding what you need to do next. 

2. Leave on Good Terms

Emotions can run high when you're laid off, but it's important to leave on good terms because your employer could be a good potential reference for you while you're looking for a new job. Even if you were let go because of poor performance, an employer may still like you as a person and offer a positive reference in the future, especially if you handle your termination with grace. 

3. File for Unemployment

Filing for unemployment benefits won't help you get a new job, but it will ensure that you don't feel the pressure to take just any job. While these benefits won't be able to pay all your bills, they can help to give you enough time to get back on your feet. Unfortunately, it's possible for you to not be eligible for unemployment benefits, depending on the reason why you were laid off. For example, if you were fired because you broke the law in some way, you won't qualify for benefits. Still, it doesn't hurt to try to see if you're eligible for unemployment by talking to someone at the unemployment office in your state. 

4. Update Your Resume

If you were at your job for a few years, you likely haven't updated your resume since getting hired, so now is the time to update it with any new skills you've picked up and duties you had that may help you land your next job. In addition, you should note any new skills or training you had during your previous position. Refer back to the job description to determine if there's anything relevant you can add to your resume, depending on the position you're looking for next.

5. Improve Your Skills

When looking at job boards and job descriptions, consider any soft or hard skills employers are looking for. Then, while you're interviewing and applying, you can work on developing any skills you don't have. If there's a hard skill you want to learn that might help you land your next job, consider taking a certification course online. 

6. Practice Interviewing

Some might argue that interviewing skills are just as or more important than your hard skills. During interviews, employers get to see your soft skills first-hand to help them determine whether you'd be a good fit for the team. Preparing for interviews by practicing and learning everything you can about the companies you're interviewing for can go a long way. In addition, you can practice with family and friends to help you learn new skills. Also, during the recruitment process, you will likely have to go through multiple rounds of interviews with different people involved in the decision-making process. So, if possible, you should learn as much as you can about these individuals and their roles in the company to help you ask more thoughtful questions.

7. Learn How to Discuss Termination

Employers look at job histories to determine whether or not to hire someone. They want to know your past duties and why you're no longer working at a company. Remember, employers want to find candidates who can stick around for many years, allowing them to invest in their employees over time. When you're fired, it can be difficult to discuss the circumstances because you may think employers will look at you differently. However, people are terminated from their jobs all the time, and your ability to thrive at a company isn't dependent on your termination from another company. When discussing your job history with an interviewer, you'll be asked why you're looking for a new job and why you left your previous position. 

While you should be honest about your termination, you don't have to discuss why you were fired. Instead, you can simply say your employment was terminated, and you're looking for a company where you can thrive. You can also discuss the actions you've taken since being fired to improve your skills, especially if poor performance was one of the reasons you were let go.

8. Consider a Career Change

When you lose your job, you’re given the opportunity to reflect. This may allow you to determine whether or not you were truly happy at your last job. If you weren't satisfied with the role, now is the perfect time for a career change or pivot. For example, if you worked as a social media manager but are more interested in digital advertising, you can look for opportunities that may offer training or a way to advance your skills in that one area before you become a digital advertising manager. Luckily, career pivots are easier than career changes, but you can do either as long as you're willing to learn new skills. 

9. Don't Give Up

Losing your job can make you feel less confident during interviews, and finding a new job can be difficult. So, try not to get discouraged. Continue applying for jobs, continue to interview, and don’t take each rejection personally. Eventually, you’ll find a job you love. 

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading, and diving deep into her favorite music.